On Monday 14 December at 6pm, a guest list of over 100 OOs from the classes of 1960 – 2016, all got together to celebrate Christmas in a very different way. In true 2020 style, the Christmas Drinks took place on Zoom and it was wonderful to see the OO Community come alive online, sharing memories and enhancing the festive spirit together, despite the current restrictions.
The evening began with David Gilman (89), our current OO President, welcoming the first 60 attendees as we clicked “admit all from the waiting room”. Within seconds, David was joined by OOs from all over the world, admittedly, all trying to speak at once. In true Presidency style, David led the event by asking all attendees to mute themselves – some were faster at this than others – and David, at one point, even managed to mute himself!
Once we had everyone in and muted, David handed over to Henry Price, who welcomed guests to the call and spoke about the year like no other at Oakham School. Just as all online calls tend to have a mishap, Henry’s internet cut out briefly, so we missed a short section of his speech – however, he was quickly recovered in time to wish everyone a happy Christmas and thank OOs for their continued support. Before passing over to Rob Hanna (04), Henry explained that instead of paying for drinks this year, the school instead would be donating to the Rutland Foodbank in support of those in need within the local community. Henry introduced Rob and wished everyone a Happy and relaxing Christmas.
Rob Hanna, who recently invited Henry to take part in the popular Legally Speaking Podcast, led a short talk on the opportunity that OOs have to give back to their school community. An important message surrounding the privilege that OOs can repay through their experience of an Oakham School education. Rob asked attendees to start considering how they might support younger OOs, current pupils, and the wider School community through their experience and insights, whilst also using enhancing their own place in the community by building new networks and sharing opportunities. As Rob handed the screen back to David, he spoke warmly of his recent work with Henry and described him as an “approachable and caring leader who is open to change.”
David, this time successfully unmuting himself, took back the screen for the final time. He spoke briefly of the challenges we have all faced this year, and explained that “Despite all the hardship, there have been some lovely moments in 2020 as well. A real sense of community and hope for 2021. Hopefully including a proper OOs’ dinner…”
David concluded his speech by sharing a 1 minute video, reminding everyone what a crazy year it has been, which you can watch by clicking here:
Before declaring that the attendees were ready to be transported to their various breakout rooms, which worked a little like “tables” at a dinner, but virtually in a private room, David shared with the group that he will be continuing on as President for a further year. He has been an outstanding President and we are delighted to have him continuing to support the OO Office, including, hopefully, hosting an OO Dinner in the summer of 2021!
In 3, 2, 1, Becca pressed the magic button and all attendees were suddenly (with a slight delay) transported into exclusive online rooms of their own cohorts – who knows what they got up to after that!
Thank you to both David Gilman (89) and Rob Hanna (04) for their ongoing commitment to the School and the OO Club, and for their dedication to making this event the success that it was.
Thank you also to all those who were in attendance, and for your ongoing support. We were overjoyed by the sheer number of OOs who joined the celebrations, and delighted that so many of you who are overseas were finally able to come to your first event! Although I hope at the next event we will be able to raise a glass together in person, we will continue to host a virtual event to ensure we all stay connected!
Have a lovely Christmas, and all the best wishes to you for the New Year.